RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund have quickly emerged as the two greatest threats to Bayern Munich's title. - © Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund have quickly emerged as the two greatest threats to Bayern Munich's title. - © Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund vs. RB Leipzig: New rivals aiming to dethrone Bayern Munich

With both hell-bent on ripping the Bundesliga title from Bayern Munich's hands, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig have developed a fiercely competitive rivalry in recent years that will no doubt lead to one of them lifting the Meisterschale sooner rather than later.

Dortmund were the last side other than Bayern to be crowned German champions, completing back-to-back triumphs under Jürgen Klopp in 2010/11 and 2011/12. The first of which came only a year after Leipzig as a club were formed.

In the decade since Dortmund clinched their eighth league victory, however, they are the only team to have finished as runners-up (five times) more than Leipzig (twice).

Schalke and Wolfsburg are the two other sides to have claimed second during that time, while Leipzig have finished in the top-three in four of their five seasons in the Bundesliga.

So, while Dortmund are a club steeped in tradition and Leipzig are still forging the early years of their own legacy, their futures look to be very much intertwined.

Watch: Leipzig vs. Dortmund - Tyler Adams vs. Gio Reyna

A first statement of intent

This fixture is just 10 games old in the Bundesliga, and 11 in total, since the sides first met on Matchday 2 of the 2016/17 campaign.

Having drawn their top-flight opener 2-2 at Hoffenheim, Leipzig stunned Dortmund with a 1-0 win in the Red Bull Arena's Bundesliga debut.

Leipzig had created a great deal of noise due to their rapid rise to the top, and claiming the scalp of Dortmund showed that they were far from prepared to be silenced once they were at the top table.

Watch: Leipzig earned their first Bundesliga win by beating Dortmund in 2016/17

"We know where we come from. We’ve a lot to learn but we’re on the right path," said then Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl, and Die Roten Bullen were certainly heading in the right direction.

They may have lost the reverse that season but Leipzig would end their first Bundesliga campaign in second, three points clear of Dortmund in third.

Borussia closed out the subsequent campaign fourth - two ahead of Leipzig in sixth - but it was the young upstarts that held the edge in head-to-heads, courtesy of a thrilling 3-2 win at the Signal Iduna Park on Matchday 8 and a 1-1 draw in Saxony.

Haaland heroics help Dortmund dominate

Of that first meeting between the two, Peter Gulacsi, Lukas Klostermann, Willi Orban and Yussuf Poulsen all started for RBL, while Roman Bürki and Marcel Schmelzer were in BVB's starting XI, and Emil Forsberg and Raphael Guerreiro each came off the bench.

They make up a handful of players still representing each club, and while Leipzig made the running in the early exchanges, it's been all Dortmund ever since.

There have been seven league meetings between the two since Leipzig's aforementioned 3-2 victory, with BVB winning five and drawing twice.

Borussia have scored 17 goals during that time, with Erling Haaland grabbing six of them in just three appearances.

Watch: Haaland hits two in 3-1 Dortmund win over Leipzig

Erling Haaland hit a third successive brace against RB Leipzig as Borussia Dortmund lifted the 2020/21 DFB Cup. - Martin Rose/Getty Images

Having played for Leipzig's sister club Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland could have so easily ended up treading the same path as the likes of Gulacsi and Dayot Upamecano before him, or former teammate Dominik Szoboszlai and old boss Jesse Marsch since.

But he opted for Dortmund instead and has gone on to torment Leipzig with three braces in all three of his matches against them.

Following his most recent league double in this fixture, then Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said in January: "This is not the first goal he scored against us. He has some serious quality and is very young.

"Of course, he is an exceptional striker - this's why we wanted him, too. Dortmund got him... and the league will have a lot of joy with him. Not the opponents, though."

Yussuf Poulsen started out in the third tier with RB Leipzig in 2013/14 and has been with the club ever since. - Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images

A sign of things to come?

It's little surprise that Haaland struck twice when Dortmund and Leipzig played out the 2020/21 DFB Cup final, helping his side run out 4-1 winners as Dortmund claimed cup glory for a fifth time.

That was only Leipzig's second final in their history and it extended their search for a first major trophy.

But this is a team that has already twice finished second in the Bundesliga, featured in two DFB Cup finals, and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League and semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Not bad going for a club that is just 12 years old, and there will be many opportunities to come as they aim to fill the trophy cabinets of the Red Bull Arena.

Dortmund's own ambitions have been similarly lofty for a lot longer, and they are all too aware of the threat that Leipzig pose them in pursuit of the same.

Clearly, these two should get used to battling it out for silverware both home and abroad for years to come.